Politics & Government

AG sides partly with Eyman on I-1053, fees

Lawyers in the state Attorney General’s Office have sided in part with Tim Eyman over the way voter-approved Initiative 1053 affects fee increases.

The AG's informal opinion, linked here, agreed with Eyman's contention that the Transportation Commission can no longer raise fees on its own without additional legislative approval.

I-1053 reinstated a two-thirds vote requirement on tax increases adopted by the Legislature but left the threshold at 50 percent plus one for fee increases. The AG's Office said in an announcement:

The Attorney General's Office provided the informal opinion in response to a request by Sen. Pam Roach, R-Enumclaw, regarding the effect of Initiative 1053 on the Transportation Commission’s authority.

According to the analysis provided by Deputy Solicitor General Jeff Even, when voters enacted I-1053 they amended state law “to restate the requirement that fees can only be imposed or increased if approved with majority legislative approval” The opinion further states that prior legislative approval granted to the Transportation Commission to impose or increase a fee is no longer sufficient.

The opinion also indicates it is optional for lawmakers to spell out the specific increases, but it says lawmakers could delegate that part of a decision on ferry fares or toll bridge fares. Eyman had angled for a more restrictive opinion.